A decision on the political fate of War Veterans' Minister Mijo Crnoja will be made public after a government session on Thursday which he will not attend, government sources said in the early hours of Thursday.

During an 11-hour meeting at the government, Prime Minister Tihomir Oreskovic, his deputies Tomislav Karamarko and Bozo Petrov, and Crnoja discussed the situation in the wake of media reports linking Crnoja to several scandals.

After Crnoja presented paperwork on the contentious cases, the documents were examined by the government's legal experts. Reporters were told by a government source that independent legal experts would be called to examine the documentation too and draw up summaries. Based on a report by the legal experts, Oreskovic, Karamarko and Petrov are expected to adopt a final decision as to whether Crnoja will remain in office.

The parliamentary opposition demanded that Crnoja resign after media reported that he had falsely stated his place of residence and that he had been reported to the police for physical assault a number of times. The question was also raised about the spending of a loan he was given to build a family house.

Oreskovic said earlier in the day that he wanted to meet with Crnoja and that he would then state his view, while Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) president Karamarko said that Crnoja would certainly be punished if he had done something wrong.

Commenting on remarks that Crnoja admitted to making a fixed-term deposit on the loan in question, Bridge party leader Petrov said that his party knew how it would act in such a case and that it expected the HDZ to do the same.

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